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#8

in 2011 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $17,106 - $25,271
Original MSRP: $29,370 - $40,250
MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
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2011 Chevrolet Traverse Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2011 Chevy Traverse is a star on the pavement, providing a smooth, stable ride with decent acceleration. However, a few complaints persist about the SUV's long braking distances and its automatic transmission.

  • "We tested our Traverse on an enclosed track running a series of obstacle-avoidance tests. Driven back-to-back against the Toyota Highlander, the Traverse exhibited superior capabilities in almost every situation." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "A 4,500-pound boat-trailer combination was attached to show how easily the Traverse can tow. Along a road course on the Milford grounds, the Traverse didn't seem to strain at all with the extra weight behind it, and acceleration and handling both were barely different from when there was no trailer attached." -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • "On the road course GM set out for us, Traverse displays the good manners we've come to expect from the Lambda platform. It has decent acceleration for its size, good isolation from road, wind, and engine noise, and corners pretty flatly give the size and weight." -- Jalopnik
  • "While the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse rides more smoothly and handles better than most traditional SUVs, it won't exactly make you forget you're driving a plus-size vehicle." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The Traverse comes with a fairly powerful 3.6-liter V6 engine which makes 281 horsepower in LS and LTD models, and an extra 7 horsepower in LTZ models. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

According to the EPA, the front-wheel drive model nets 17/24 mpg city/highway, while the all-wheel drive model nets 16/23 mpg. These estimates are a bit higher than average for the class.

 

  • "While it won't be mistaken for a V8, the direct-injected V6 felt brisk during our controlled driving conditions and towed a 4,200-pound boat and trailer without gasping for breath." -- MSN
  • "With the second and third rows of seats filled with luggage and teens, the direct-injected 281-bhp 3.6-liter V-6 will still launch the Traverse smartly. An optional dual exhaust adds 7 bhp, too little to notice while accelerating, but the sound is sportier. " -- Road and Track
  • "Is it fast? No. But it can certainly get out of its own way, with plenty of passing power and virtually silent operation while cruising." -- Car and Driver
  • "We have no complaints about the 3.6-liter V6, as it provides peppy acceleration in almost all situations. Previously, the six-speed automatic transmission was often reluctant to downshift, but a reprogramming for 2010 has remedied the situation." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

Despite its large size, the new Traverse boasts car-like handling, responsive steering and good maneuverability. However, a few reviewers point out its overly long braking distances.

  • "We like the way the Traverse rides confidently on the highway and doesn't wander in windy conditions." -- Road and Track
  • "The stability control system does an admirable job of avoiding cones in wet and dry conditions, and it handles Michigan-style bumps and potholes with aplomb." -- Jalopnik
  • "For a 5,000-lb wagon, the Traverse proved quite capable of changing direction quickly. The steering wasn't as lifeless as some other recent vehicles we've tried and even provided a hint of feedback. This is certainly not a sporting vehicle, but if you must drive a big crossover, it's better than most." -- Autoblog
  • "Braking is one area in which the 2LT AWD could stand improvement. Its 135-foot stopping distance from 60 mph is the longest of any seven-passenger crossover we've tested lately, except for the 2009 Honda Pilot." -- Edmunds

Next Steps: 2011 Chevrolet Traverse

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